[Haskell-cafe] Compilers: Why do we need a core language?

Brandon Allbery allbery.b at gmail.com
Thu Nov 22 17:52:15 CET 2012

On Thu, Nov 22, 2012 at 7:56 AM, Jacques Carette <carette at mcmaster.ca>wrote:

> On 20/11/2012 6:08 PM, Richard O'Keefe wrote:
>> On 21/11/2012, at 4:49 AM, <citb at lavabit.com> wrote:
>>  Well, I don't know. Would it save some time? Why bother with a core
>>> language?
>> For a high level language (and for this purpose, even Fortran 66 counts as
>> "high level") you really don't _want_ a direct translation from source
>> code
>> to object code.  You want to eliminate unused code and you want to do all
>> sorts of analyses and improvements.  It is *much* easier to do all that to
>> a small core language than to the full source language.
> Actually, here I disagree.  It might be much 'easier' for the programmers
> to do it for a small core language, but it may turn out to be much, much
> less effective.  I 'discovered' this when (co-)writing a partial evaluator
> for Maple:

You're still using a core language, though; just with a slightly different
focus than Haskell's.  I already mentioned gcc's internal language, which
similarly is larger (semantically; syntactically it's sexprs).  What
combination is more appropriate depends on the language and the compiler

brandon s allbery kf8nh                               sine nomine associates
allbery.b at gmail.com                                  ballbery at sinenomine.net
unix/linux, openafs, kerberos, infrastructure          http://sinenomine.net
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